Christian Schidlowski

I’m a Berlin based writer, director and producer of documentary films, working for German public TV and international broadcasters. I studied directing at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin and screenwriting at New York University. My films have been commissioned by broadcasters such as ARTE, ZDF, WDR, NDR, 3SAT, NatGeo and Discovery and were sold to more than 30 countries. In documentary filmmaking, my main areas of interest are people, adventure, cultural topics and science. My latest assignments have taken me to Madagascar, Uruguay, the Spanish Islands, Thailand and Vietnam. I have just finished producing a five part series about South East Asia for ZDF-ARTE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bare Facts

41

Countries Traveled

22

Clients Worked With

34

Completed Projects

4

Winning Awards

In feature films the director is God.

In documentary films god is the director.

Alfred Hitchcock

Work

Some of the films and series I've written and directed.

Treasures of South East Asia – Vietnam

Treasures of South East Asia – Vietnam

DOCUMENTARY 2014 | 43 mins | ZDF-ARTE

Over 30 years after the war Vietnam is presenting itself as one of the most fascinating countries in Southeast Asia. Here we can find imperial residences overgrown by lush jungle vegetation, bustling towns in French colonial style and landscapes out of fairytalesmaking the former Indochina a festival of colours, scents and sounds.

Produced, written, directed and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced with STORY HOUSE PRODUCTIONS

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Treasures of South East Asia – Thailand

Treasures of South East Asia – Thailand

DOCUMENTARY 2014 | 43 mins | ZDF-ARTE

More than 2000 miles of white sand, a turquoise sea, and every now and then a shady place beneath coconut palm trees. The coast of the Thai kingdom is only a small part of what there is to be discovered. It is a country between Buddhism and booming business, skyscrapers and remote mountain villages, monks and transsexuals, urban chaos and deep silence.

Produced, written, directed and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced with STORY HOUSE PRODUCTIONS

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Treasures of South East Asia – Cambodia

Treasures of South East Asia – Cambodia

DOCUMENTARY 2013 | 52 mins | ZDF-ARTE

French explorers had shivers run down their spine when they discovered the ruins of Angkor at the end of the 19th century. The mighty towers of this ancient city, the jungle temple Ta Prohm and the stone faces enchant visitors to thisday. We search for the soul of a gentle country that is still facing the demons of its past.

Directed by SEBASTIAN KENTNER
Produced, written and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced with STORY HOUSE PRODUCTIONS

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Treasures of South East Asia – Laos

Treasures of South East Asia – Laos

DOCUMENTARY 2013 | 52 mins | ZDF-ARTE

In Laos, ‚the Land of the 1000 elephants‘, slowness prevails. The clocks run under a different rule. Speedy progress is simply impossible on these hardly paved roads and the meandering Mekong river. Only those who come with time on their hands and patience will be able to cherish what marks out Laos and especially its thick-skinned pack animals: a calm and composed nature.

Directed by ROHAN FERNANDO
Produced, written and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced with STORY HOUSE PRODUCTIONS

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Rare Earths – Hightech’s Dark Side

Rare Earths – Hightech’s Dark Side

DOCUMENTARY 2013 | 52 mins | ZDF-ARTE

You may never have heard of Rare Earth Metals but the simple truth is you probably aren’t willing to live without them. They are the backbone of devices we use on a daily basis. These amazing little known elements are what make our smart phones smart, laptop computers purr and flat screen TVs flat. The same goes for electric cars, wind turbines, solar cells. Rare Earth Metals are essential ingredients for the digital and green technologies of the future. But they aren’t as green as everybody thinks. The process for getting them out of the ground and into our modern tools and playthings means pollution, radioactivity, and destroyed landscapes. Despite the significant environmental issues, there’s a modern-day ‘gold-rush’ on around the world to find new deposits. THERE ARE NO KNOWN SUBSTITUTES. Meanwhile, scientists around the world are feverishly looking for better ways to mine and process rare earths, recycle them intelligently – or replace them completely in a global effort to avoid a tsunami of long lasting pollution in the future.

Written, directed, shot and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by A&O BUERO

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Mysterious Marinas – Punta del Este

Mysterious Marinas – Punta del Este

DOCUMENTARY 2012 | 52 and 43 mins | ZDF-ARTE

All major discoveries in history started onboard of a ship – off to new shores, off to new ports. According to this motto, we set out to explore five showcase marinas located on some of the world’s not only most picturesque, but also strategically important coastlines. It is not about mega-ports and their big logistics, it is the hidden marinas, from where we open up the view to a grand panorama discovering their backwaters. Wild, untouched nature, the ever vibrant ancient culture, and unique biographies await us in: Punta del Este, a fascinating seaside resort in Uruguay.

Written, directed and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by GEBRUEDER BEETZ FILMPRODUKTION

 

Alps from Above – Glaciers and Rolling Hills

Alps from Above – Glaciers and Rolling Hills

DOCUMENTARY 2012 | 43 and 52 mins | ARTE, ZDF, BR and SWR

The fifth episode of the Series ‚Alps from Above‘ leads us across Eastern Tyrol. Shortly after sunrise, there is only one person on the road here: musher Martin Eigentler with his 24 Huskies. In winter the European champion takes part in races all over the world. A loud roar disturbs the idyllic quietness in Wildschoenau: Conrad Gruber tunes powerful sports cars, and ups their power to more than 800 PS. The journey leads us to High Tauern National Park. The summits are covered with ice and snow, even in the summer. But due to global warming the alpine glaciers are melting. Scientists want to find out which dangers impend, when millions of litres of meltwater tear down rocks on their way to the valley. In the Tuxan Alps Himalayan sherpas get trained as lodgekeepers in Tyrolean huts. In the Karwendel massif Hermann Albrecht and his son Bernhard bore for precious rock oil. The journey ends in Innsbruck, where the foundry Grassmayr have been manufacturing bells since 1599.

Written and directed by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by VIDICOM MEDIA

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Alps from Above

Alps from Above

DOCUMENTARY 2012 | 43 and 52 mins | ARTE, ZDF, BR and SWR

In the sixth episode of ‚Alps from Above‘ the journey leads among the peaks in Tyrol’s west, crossing the border to South Tyrol near the Oetz valley. Starting point is Innsbruck’s Alpine zoo, where zookeeper Michael Winkler takes care of the brown bears and wolves. The helicopter crosses the Brennero pass. In summer the toll stations here become a bottleneck for holidaymakers heading for Italy. For generations the Gurschler family has driven sheep of the close-by farms to the summer pastures of the adjoining Oetz valley. The hike over the glacier is dangerous, and rising fog makes it difficult for them to get all the sheep safely to their destination. A few kilometres further off in Soelden, Michael Gritsch maintains one of the most modern cable cars in the world. In his revision he checks every reel, every rope – whilst standing on a moving cable car. At the height of 3000 meters two young people offer a place to spend the night – at the „Muellerhuette“. The hut is only accessible in summer. The route leads on to Pitz valley. where Kassian Erhart is searching for melodious stones to turn into instruments. At the Inntal valleys two beekeepers make honey from mountain blossoms. Bees all over the world are in danger: because of parasites, germs and pesticides. People like the bee keepers can help the colonies to stay in good healt.

Written and directed by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by VIDICOM MEDIA

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The Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands

DOCUMENTARY 2013 | 43 mins | SWR and ARTE

A two part mini series shows the hidden beauty of the Balearic Islands. Far away from mass tourism, we discover people you won’t find in your guidebook. Off the beaten track, landscapes in Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera offer fantastic views. We find a very special atmosphere created by the islanders – who to this day preserve their own Catalan culture.

Written, directed and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by FILMQUADRAT

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Dubai. Drilling for Art!

Dubai. Drilling for Art!

DOCUMENTARY 2008 | 52 mins | RBB-ARTE

If your country has no cultural history, can you simply buy one? The ruling family of Dubai certainly thinks so – and has ordered everything under the sun to make the desert bloom. With exclusive access, Drilling For Art goes behind the scenes of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority which has launched an ambitious plan to create the entire culture of the state from scratch. It investigates Dubai’s brand-new opera houses, museums and art galleries, and talks to the consultants who are responsible for the flourishing of culture in the wealthiest 4,114 km² of sand in the world. Is this drive for culture purely a drive to become a major financial player in the fast growing global commodity that is art? And will the ripples of the economic downturn reach as far this oil-rich Emirate?

Written, directed and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by KAENGURUH FILM

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Over the Islands of Africa – Cape Verde

Over the Islands of Africa – Cape Verde

DOCUMENTARY 2011 | 52 and 43 mins | SWR and ARTE

Stéphane Ducandas‘ goal was nothing less than to capture the soul of the Cape Verde Islands in photographs. Stéphane is a New Caledonian and spent his childhood in Africa. For him, the trip to Cape Verde is also a journey back to his roots. His aim is to explore the landscapes of the archipelago by land and by air. The bird’s-eye view is provided by Englishman Richard Meredith-Hardy. With a flight over Everest to his name, he’s considered the most fearless ultralight pilot in the world. To fly Stéphane around, he’s brought his FIB, a flying inflatable boat. Together they land on secluded beaches in defiance of the relentless winds. Cape Verde – the islands of Saudade, of longing. For Stéphane and Richard it is a journey full of adventure, unforgettable encounters and magnificent photographs.

Written, directed and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by FILMQUADRAT
Funded by EU MEDIA

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Over the Islands of Africa – São Tomé and Príncipe

Over the Islands of Africa – São Tomé and Príncipe

DOCUMENTARY 2011 | 52 and 43 mins | SWR and ARTE

Together with photographer Rui Camilo we travel to the West African island state of São Tomé and Príncipe in search of pictures that capture the soul of the tiny country: a bird’s-eye view of fascinating landscapes and unprecedented insights into the life of the people who inhabit this tropical paradise that could have been created by Hollywood set designers. Rui’s project is the fulfilment of a dream from his childhood in Lisbon, where his teachers told captivating tales about the Portuguese colony’s cocoa plantations. With Rui Camilo and his camera we plunge deep into the soul of the friendly Santomeans and discover the secrets of two all but unknown tropical paradises.

Written, directed and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by FILMQUADRAT
Funded by EU MEDIA

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Over the Islands of Africa – Madagascar

Over the Islands of Africa – Madagascar

DOCUMENTARY 2011 | 52 and 43 mins | SWR and ARTE

There are few women among the upper echelons of photographers. Ami Vitale is one of them. A frequent visitor to the world’s conflict zones, Ami looks for more than just beautiful motifs. She seeks out the story behind the picture. In Madagascar, she wants to explore what it means to be Malagasy. Ami begins her journey on the old pirate island of Nosy Bé in the northwest. Together with the French skipper Nicolas, she sails along the rugged coast to the realm of a king of the Sakalava culture. The daily lives of Malagasy are regulated by prohibitions and taboos that often remain invisible to strangers. Depending on which group one belongs to, it may be forbidden to touch a chameleon, talk about crocodiles or work on Thursdays. Armed only with her camera and a few newly acquired phrases in the local language, she ventures into villages seldom visited by strangers.

written by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
directed by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI and VERENA SCHÖNAUER
produced by FILMQUADRAT, funded by EU MEDIA

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Brain Doping

Brain Doping

DOCUMENTARY 2011 | 52 mins | ZDF-ARTE

Forget about life-work-balance. A new generation of drugs promises unlimited increases in productivity without the need for rest or sleep. “Brain doping” is the latest trend among high flyers. Pharmaceutical companies are developing pills that increase mental capability, stimulate desire, and heighten the mood. A meaningful life full of happiness and success – without side effects. The industry hopes for fantastic profits if the pretty pills become socially acceptable. Are we at the dawn of a new era, in which cosmetic neurology is an everyday phenomenon?

written/directed by HANNAH LEONIE PRINZLER and CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
produced by A&O BUERO

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Calling All Aliens

Calling All Aliens

2-PART DOCUMENTARY 2007 | 2 x 52 mins | ZDF-ARTE | SBS AUSTRALIA CHANNEL 5 RUSSIA | NRK NORWAY | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL

It‘s one of the great mysteries of life – and perhaps the most intriguing question humans have: Are we alone? Or do we have unknown relatives on distant planets? And if yes – where are they? A group of scientists tries to find answers to these questions – SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. In the United States, Europe, South Africa and Russia scientists are trying to receive extraterrestrial signals with huge radio telescopes. Others use spacecraft to launch messages into the cosmos. Even sending human DNA with greetings to E.T. is not a taboo anymore. Our two part documentary takes viewers on a fascinating journey into the laboratories of one of the world‘s strangest fields of science. But what‘s behind the search for aliens beings? How can extraterrestrial signals be found, how does the technology work? What are the chances that we will have contact soon – and what dangers would that impose on the human race?

Written, directed, shot and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by VIDICOM MEDIA PRODUCTIONS
Funded by EU MEDIA PLUS PROGRAMME
Developed within the DOCUMENTARY CAMPUS MASTERSCHOOL

Part 1

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Coasts of Germany

Coasts of Germany

DOCUMENTARY SERIES 2010 | 10 x 52 mins, 10 x 43 mins | ARTE and NDR

Over 1000 kilometers of beaches, cities with old maritime traditions and the largest brackish water of the world – all this makes up Germany‘s coasts. In our 10part documentary series the German coastline forms the dramatic arc. Breath-taking, never-before-seen Cineflex heli-shots are the framework in which we tell stories about people living along the coast. The big birds-eye pictures meet strong protagonists at the ground. A discovery journey from Emden to Usedom: We go treasure hunting in the Wadden Sea, follow old commercial routes, portray maritime craftsmen and accompany Cranes on their flight south. In five episodes about the North Sea and five episodes about the Baltic Sea we develop a stream of unseen pictures and strong stories: a big tale about the drama of life in a beautiful yet threatened landscape.

Written and directed by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI (5 of 10 parts)
Produced by VIDICOM MEDIA PRODUCTIONS
Funded by NORDMEDIA FONDS, EU MEDIA

Hanbao – Chinatown Hamburg

Hanbao – Chinatown Hamburg

DOCUMENTARY 2008 | 60 mins | ZDF-ARTE

The film tells the story of four Chinese business people heading for the global market. No other city in Europe is more in favor of the well-trained Chinese elite than Hamburg. While the waves of emigration at the turn of the century had shaped whole districts in the city, the new influence of the Chinese in European companies happens rather unnoticed. At the moment, the world is witnessing the resurgence of the largest and oldest culture in the world, which has finally overcome a 150-year phase of weakness and humiliation. We show the Chinese in Germany doing a daily balancing act between communism and capitalism, trying to get the optimum for themselves and their companies while stirring up the old European management strategies.

directed and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
produced by GEBRUEDER BEETZ FILMPRODUCTION
funded by FILM FUND HAMBURG SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN

Mr. Wong’s World

Mr. Wong’s World

DOCUMENTARY 2006 | 81 and 52 mins | 3sat and WDR

Shanghai is a powerhouse of change. Tradition has no place except in Mr. Wong’s dreams. The millionaire is buying old houses and temples that are threatened by the sledgehammer. On a site outside Shanghai, Mr.Wong is constructing his very own ‚Neverland‘ with his relocated houses. While most Chinese businessmen pride themselves in shaping their country’s future, Mr. Wong prefers to invest his money in the past. Ever since he returned from Canada to Shanghai, he saves old houses. Stone by stone, Mr. Wong’s workers take them apart, transport them to large grounds where he reassembles them to create a kind of national park. Most Chinese cannot understand what Mr. Wong is up to. As a result, Wong has to fight an army of bureaucrats eager to destroy his dream. His best weapon: his wealth. Mr. Wong’s World is the gripping story of an unusual vision and an insightful portrait of modern China.

Written, directed and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by VIDICOM MEDIA PRODUCTIONS and PTD
Funded by FILM FUNDS HAMBURG and LUXEMBOURG

The Migrant Workers of Shanghai

The Migrant Workers of Shanghai

DOCUMENTARY 2005 | 54 MIN | ZDF-ARTE

In China, 150 million migrant workers are on the move to search for better living. Since labor in the rural areas is badly paid, many people are moving to the big cities. More than a billion Chinese are still living under very humble conditions, some even in downright poverty. The only chance for young men and women living in rural areas today is to leave their homes behind and look for work on the booming east coast, in factories and at construction sites – resulting in dysfunctional families and broken social structures in their deserted homevillages. In their new environment, the migrant workers are living a life as second class citizens. We follow a group of peasants from An Hui province to the booming construction sites of Shanghai, where they hope to make enough money to send their children to university one day.

Directed, shot and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
Produced by VIDICOM MEDIA PRODUCTIONS
Funded by NORDMEDIA

7 Days in the Lives of my Friends

7 Days in the Lives of my Friends

DOCUMENTARY 2004 | 75 MIN | FILMSCHOOL THESIS FILM

In his first long documentary Christian follows six of his Berliner friends in a week’s chapter of their everyday lives. The film spotlights the hopes and fears of a generation turning thirty, revealing the schisms between their private dreams and blatant reality. The artist couple René and Nicole have lost a child. In the aftermath of this tragedy the world of gallery shows and openings appears shallow and devoid of content. Stefan spends his time constructing web sites featuring music most people would call noise. He finds it relaxing to discern structures in the din. Cecilie doesn’t want to carve out a solid career for herself and is suspicious of the nest-building instincts of her friends. She also fears the isolation that family life can bring. The humanities scholar Cornelius is in love with Cecilie who has left him twice. They’re trying their luck a third time, enjoying each other’s non-committal company. And the film score composer Lars has his reservations about the movie business. He dwells on the tenuous nature of existence ever since his recent confrontation with the fact of mortality. “7 in the Lives of my Friends” shows the everyday life of a generation that is very skeptic toward mainstream lifestyles without being interested in rebellion.

written, directed and edited by CHRISTIAN SCHIDLOWSKI
produced by GERMAN FILM AND TELEVISION ACADEMY

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